Mak'gora (also written as mak'gora or Mak'Gora), meaning "duel of honor", is an orcish custom whereby someone may challenge another person to individual combat. The ritualistic duel has been often used to obtain a position of leadership, such as a fight for the position of group leader, clan chieftain, or Warchief of the Horde, but not necessarily. Mak'gora is practiced by ogre clans as well.
Refusing a Mak'gora can mean dishonor. When used as a fight to the death, being spared can be perceived as a grave insult for orcs, at least for Thunderlords. In one unnamed orcish clan, the participants were expelled from their clan and left for dead when they refused to kill each other during their Mak'gora.
The rules of a Mak'gora seem to be different between each Mak'gora since they are chosen and set by the participants themselves. Generally, there are thus no specific rules. There are only two consistent themes in all Mak'gora: once dropped, a weapon cannot be retrieved by either opponent and that the pair must fight to the death or until submission. Magic, for example, has never been stated to be forbidden, and has, in fact, been used in multiple Mak'gora duels and thus seems to be permitted. Similarly, many Mak'gora duels have involved both fighters wearing body armor as well, but it can also be forbidden when explicitly required.
- One weapon was allowed.
- A blessing of this weapon by a shaman of their choosing was permitted.
- Both body armor and clothing were forbidden, only a loincloth was allowed.
- Each participant had to have at least one witness.
- The combat was to the death.
- One weapon was allowed.
- Body armor was forbidden, but not clothing.
- The combat was to the death.
In many instances of Mak'gora, no rules whatsoever are defined beforehand. For instance in both the first and the second Mak'gora between Thrall and Garrosh, the Mak'gora between Saurfang and Malfurion, or the Mak'gora between Saurfang and Sylvanas.
Instances of Mak'gora
- Issued by Fenris Wolfbrother to Garad in an alternate Draenor. Garad called Fenris a coward for secretly hunting gronn with the Thunderlord clan. Garad defeated Fenris, but he would not kill his own son. Insulted by being spared, Fenris left the Frostwolf clan and joined the Thunderlords. It is possible that this holds true for the main universe as well.
- Issued by Orgrim Doomhammer to Blackhand the Destroyer, calling Blackhand a traitor who had sold their people into servitude to dark forces. Orgrim won with a blow that crushed Blackhand's skull, taking control of the Blackrock clan and the Horde at the end of the First War.
- Issued by Garrosh Hellscream to Thrall. The duel, in the modern way, was interrupted when the Scourge invaded Orgrimmar.
- Issued by Cairne Bloodhoof to Garrosh Hellscream, who requested it to be a traditional duel. Garrosh chose Magatha Grimtotem to bless Gorehowl, who secretly applied poison to the blade. Cairne died when the poison prevented him from avoiding the axe. Because of the use of poison, Garrosh felt that Magatha cheated him out of a real victory.
- Issued by Ashra Valandril to Shagara. Ashra did not understand or care what Mak'gora entailed and just wanted a martial challenge to see who was truly fit to lead. Ashra lost but Shagara did not kill him.
- Issued by Ga'nar to Durotan. Ga'nar believed that Durotan was not handling the Frostwolf Orcs as well as he should have been, and challenged his brother in the middle of the Horde Garrison. Durotan and Draka defused the situation, and Ga'nar backed down.
- Issued by Thrall to Garrosh Hellscream. Garrosh lost and was killed by Thrall.
- Hans'gar and Franzok are twin brothers who were each unwilling to slay the other in the rite of mak'gora and were banished from their clan.
- Issued by Malus to King Gordok, but the latter refused as the opponent wasn't an ogre. Instead, Malus's companion, the ogre Throgg, challenged the King in Malus's stead, yet Malus chose to be Throgg's champion and fight. Gordok died and Malus became new King Gordok, leader of the Dire Maul Gordunni clan.
- Issued by Varok Saurfang to Sylvanas Windrunner at the gates of Orgrimmar. Saurfang wielded Thrall's axe and Shalamayne, given to him by Anduin Wrynn, against Sylvanas' twin blades. Though he succeeded in wounding her, Sylvanas slew him on the spot with an unknown dark magic and fled from Orgrimmar. Witnesses were Anduin himself and an anonymous Forsaken flagbearer.
- Malkorok threatened to challenge Baine Bloodhoof with a mak'gora if his objection to Garrosh's use of molten giants against Northwatch Hold was meant as an insult. Baine diffused the situation by stating he only spoke out of concern that abusing the elements in such a way may lead to another Cataclysm.
- Varok Saurfang wished to engage in a mak'gora against Garrosh Hellscream in the aftermath of the Alliance-Horde war because he believed that the deposed Warchief had earned the right to an orcish mak'gora, meaning an orcish death in defeat, or a chance to repent in victory. However, Garrosh escaped from the Celestials before Saurfang's challenge could be revisited.
- Varok Saurfang challenged Malfurion Stormrage to mak'gora to buy time during the Horde's attack on Astranaar. Malfurion rushed at Saurfang and attacked him with no care.
- A popular misconception among the fanbase is that Thrall cheated in his final mak'gora against Garrosh when he used elemental magic. However, there has never been any rule forbidding the use of magic and spells. Moreover, there is a precedent for the use of magic in mak'gora, as both Shagara and Ashra made extensive use of it during their mak'gora. Thrall had also already used magic in the first mak'gora between him and Garrosh, by throwing lightning bolts.
- Another popular misconception is that Thrall became a weaker shaman as a result of killing Garrosh with elemental magic. In reality, it was his tremendous guilt, self-doubt and internal struggle that were the reason for him not hearing the elements anymore.
- ^ a b The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 21
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ Hellscream
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-08-25)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 196
- ^ a b c Bloodsworn
- ^ a b c d Blood and Thunder
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 320 - 322
- ^ Hans'gar and Franzok#Adventure Guide
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 21
- ^ Blood Ledger
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 135
- ^ Rosenberg, Aaron. Tides of Darkness, 34. ISBN 1416539905.
- ^ (Nagrand Finale Cinematic)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, chapter 32 & 33
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 173 - 175 (ebook)
- ^ War Crimes
- ^ A Good War
- ^ Words of Wind and Earth#Doomhammer